Former Unaoil manager Akle sentenced to five years over bribes for Iraq contract
◆ Former oil executive Ziad Akle has been sentenced to five years in prison for paying more than $500,000 (£393,000) in bribes to secure a $55m contract in Iraq, writes Ed Clowes.
The sentencing at Southwark crown court follows an extensive three-year investigation into Unaoil, where Akle was a manager, and is a boon for the Serious Fraud Office after a string of high-profile failures.
Following the ousting of Saddam Hussein, Akle and others bribed public officials at the South Oil Company in Iraq to secure contracts for Unaoil and its clients, a statement from the SFO said.
In a statement, Judge Martin Beddoe said: “The offences were committed across borders at a time of serious need for the government of Iraq to rebuild after years of sanctions and the devastation of war. They were utterly exploitative at a time when the economic and political situation in Iraq was extremely fragile.”
Akle’s lawyer said he would appeal against his conviction because of concerns surrounding the SFO’s conduct during the investigation.